Growing

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Beetroot and broad beans, gooseberries and garlic, redcurrants and rhubarb: we grow the best in local seasonal produce.

Pig_field_Baptist_college_ruins_Stepney_City_FarmEvery space on the Farm is packed with growth. We fill raised beds of all sizes with salads and herbs.

Staff and volunteers have surrounded our wildlife pond with fruit trees and bushes. We’ve made use of recycled containers, from coffee sacks to grow growing Witloof chicory to a bathroom suite in our Children’s Garden.

We can extend the growing season for our cafe and shop with produce from our two polytunnels. The latest indoor newcomer is the beautiful Black Pineapple Tomato.

All around the perimeters of the Farm, leaves, tendrils and flowers edge Stepney’s pavements with tall pink and red poppies, giant pumpkins and sunflowers in rust and gold. Bees and butterflies flock to lavender, tobacco plants and cornflowers. There are the everyday herbs – mint, sage and parsley – and the less well-known such as agrimony and borage.

The edible flowers of mallows, marigolds, nasturtium and heart’s ease turn up on plates of salad and decorating cakes in the cafe.

The four seasons

In spring we grow cabbage, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, spring greens and spring onions.

Summer (and the polytunnel) sees aubergine, beans (broad, Borlottti, runner), beetroot, courgettes, garlic, lots of varieties of lettuce, radishes and tomatoes; currants (black, white and red), raspberries and strawberries.

Autumn is harvest time for our pumpkins and squashes, including their leaves, red Russian kale, chard, spinach and sweetcorn; the apple and pear trees are small but thriving.

Winter has more cabbage, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke , curly kale and cavalo nero, parsnips and turnips.

Allotments

Allotments on the Farm allow lucky Tower Hamlets residents with no space at home to grow their own food here. There are also community beds. One local nursery school visits weekly, to collect eggs alongside tending their plants.

If you’d like to talk about a potential space to grow your own veg, fruit and herbs to eat, turn into produce or sell in our shop, get in touch.

Permaculture

“Permaculture, originally ‘Permanent Agriculture’… the creation of human systems which provide for human needs, but using many natural elements and drawing inspiration from natural ecosystems. Its goals and priorities coincide with what many people see as the core requirements for sustainability.” -Emma Chapman

The Farm is a member of the Permaculture Association and a Learning And Network Demonstration (LAND) learner site. We hope to become a full LAND centre and host more permaculture courses.

Forest Garden

The Farm’s forest garden, funded by the Permaculture Association, is designed to permaculture principles and mimics a natural forest ecosystem.

We’ve grown perennial plants with extensive root systems, making our garden resilient to extreme weather and needing little or no maintenance.

The canopy layer will provide figs and mulberries and the understory medlars and cobnuts. The forest floor has plants with a spreading habit, including alpine strawberries and Egyptian walking onions.

Wildlife Pond

We also have a wildlife pond which is designed to support native amphibians such as frogs, newts and a host of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates. In its first season the pond has attracted dragon flies, pond skaters, water boatmen and water snails – we’re hoping the frogs will move in next year. The pond will help support biological pest control (frogs eating slugs) and Farm pollination by providing our resident bees with a year round watering hole.

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